Fiona McIntyre: Successful SWPL season is just the tip of the iceberg

The SWPL managing director says the game can build on a memorable season.

Fiona McIntyre: Successful SWPL season is just the tip of the iceberg SNS Group

Managing director of the SWPL Fiona McIntyre is aiming to build on what she describes as a “fantastic and historic” season for women’s football and believes the recent explosion of interest is “the tip of the iceberg”.

The former SFA head of women’s football was named as the league’s first managing director last year and said at the time of her appointment that there was an opportunity to radically transform the women’s game in Scotland.

The first season saw a thrilling finale where Glasgow City, Celtic and Rangers all went into the last day with a chance of becoming champions before City secured the title with a dramatic late goal.

McIntyre believes the focus on those final games, which were played at Ibrox and Celtic Park, shows where the game is at in Scotland, as well as what it can be.

“I think people are maybe just seeing the tip of the iceberg now,” she told STV. “It was a fantastic season, illustrated by the end of the season where we had full stadiums, games on television, great viewing numbers and most importantly everyone was talking about women’s football.

“Everybody was talking about that final day of the season and I don’t think it could have gone any better in our first year and I’m absolutely delighted.

“We’re already looking ahead to what we can do next year. I think it’s given us a platform and it sets new targets for us. We’ll work with the clubs to help us achieve them.”

The growth of the domestic game, along with the huge interest in the national team, has been accelerating in recent years, with participation and spectator numbers up. But women’s football has suffered from prejudice and negativity over the years.

McIntyre says it hasn’t gone completely but her experience has been a positive one as a new generation has accepted the game as it can be and not as it was.

“It probably does still exist, or we would have 50,000 people in stadiums instead of 15,000,” she said. “But I think it takes time to cultivate that relationship between a football team and supporters.

“From my perspective, I don’t see a lot of negativity. It’s more about doors opening than doors closing.

“I’ve been involved since I was eight years old as a player so I can certainly reflect on that. I was one of two girls in my entire school that played football.

“I’ve now got two little girls and they just see girls’ and women’s football as the norm. If they’re in the house, football’s on tv. It may be men’s, it may be women’s, they don’t differentiate. You see that with kids now who have been at games and at cup finals and it’s boys and girls.

“It’s just that normalisation that girls play football and that these female role models can be role models for everyone. That’s the greatest achievement I’ve see in recent years.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code
Posted in